We have already discussed before how important it is to maintain your focus when you are discussing a problem with your child or teen. It could be a discipline problem or a behavior problem that you are having with your child or teen, anything at all. It is important to maintain your focus and to keep this focus on the same issue when discussing it with your child.
Very often what happens with a child or a teenager, especially when you are dealing with one who has a behavioral problem, is that they do not want to talk about the issue. They will do everything they can to deflect you from the issue.
They will bring up this complaint or that complaint, or do other things to get you off topic. It is very important that you stay on topic and focus on the issue that you came to discuss. Do not get deflected to other side issues.
However, many parents know this, but still have a lot of problems with staying focused. It is difficult because some children and teens, particularly ODD children and teens, are very skilled at getting you off topic.
So for this I have a special tool that you can use. It is very simply a pad of paper. This is what you want to do is when you have issues to discuss with your child or especially teen.
Write down the topic you wish to talk about. If it is fighting with their siblings, you write down fighting with your siblings, or biting your brother/sister. If it is a problem at school, behavior in school, or not doing homework, then this is the issue that you are to discuss.
It is what you are focusing upon in that moment.
You can even show it to your child, “This is what we’re talking about right now.” Your child will bring up other reasons. He will say something else caused the problem, or other complaints, or other problems. You very simply say or hold up the pad and say, “This is what we’re talking about right now.”
If the child says something that is merit, you actually can even write it down and say that you will address it at a different time. Then you say, “But this is what we are talking about right now.”
This is a very good tool you can use to keep yourself on topic and to keep a child or teen on topic. It will also ensure the issue that you have come to discuss gets discussed. It also ensures that you do not get side tracked or showed over by other things your child throws at you. You should try this at home and see how it works for you.